PORT ANTONIO — Reducing disaster vulnerability in Manchioneal and surrounding areas of Portland was the focus of a community workshop on the Coastal Multi-hazard Mapping and Vulnerability Assessment Project on Thursday April 28.
The project, implemented through the cooperation of the World Bank, the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), was conducted August 2009 to August 2010, to assess the vulnerability of several disaster prone areas, and devise measures to reduce the impact of disasters.
The workshop was held at the Manchioneal All Age School, and was convened to present the findings of the project to the members of the community, to solicit feedback from the community in respect of the recommendations, and to provide guidance for decision making in respect of future developmental initiatives in the community.
Speaking on the topic ‘Trends in Disaster Impact’, Science and Technology Specialist in Sustainable Development and Regional Planning at the PIOJ, Richard Kelly, enumerated various disasters to which Jamaica is vulnerable, and emphasised the negative impact they have had on the national economy.
He said that, over the last 10 years, there has been a rapid acceleration in the occurrence of hurricanes and tropical storms in Jamaica, which has created more emphasis on rehabilitating communities and protecting the lives of citizens, as the disasters take toll on the nation.
He said that it was critically important for Jamaicans to play their part in observing environmental safety and protection procedures, and implement and maintain strong and effective disaster preparedness and mitigation programmes in their areas.
Emphasising that disaster affects all sectors of the economy, he said it is imperative for the country to integrate risk reduction in development planning, to minimise the dislocations resulting from their occurrence.
Stressing the need for people’s participation in the planning of disaster mitigation programme, Mr. Kelly asserted that their involvement will go a far way in ensuring success in minimising the effects of disasters.
By ASTON G. BAILEY, JIS Regional Office